The Partnership Vote signals the end of Partner Track, and regardless of where you ended up, you have work to do! In this article, we outline the steps you need to take whether you were successful in the vote or you won’t be making partner this time around.
*This blog is an excerpt from chapter 12 of the 3rd edition of Poised for Partnership. This chapter focuses on the Partnership Admissions Process including what’s involved, how to ace it, and what to do if you’re successful or unsuccessful in the vote. Download the full chapter for free here.
What happens after the partnership vote?
You were successful! Congrats on making partner!
After all that hard work (not to mention the elbow grease, and countless sweat and tears that went into it), it can be really tempting to kick your feet up when you’ve made partner. While you deserve it and should rightly so take some time, there are actually 6 essential tasks that you need to do first!
1. Do your due diligence on yourself and your firm
How do you feel now that you have finally made partner? How does your spouse or family feel? Since you are going to be investing a big chunk of your capital into the firm, you need to be certain that this is what you want and that this is the right firm for you. (Our article can help with this: Why you need to do your due diligence on a firm before buying in (and how to do it!))
2. Celebrate with family and friends
Once you’re certain that this is what you want, take some time out to enjoy yourself with family and friends. It’s not every day that you get asked to join a very exclusive club such as partnership! Not to mention, there is still a lot of tough work ahead.
3. Thank everyone who has helped you along the journey
Who has helped you along the stressful journey to making it to partner? Make a list and ring each person to thank them personally. This will make much more of an impression than a mass email.
4. Arrange your finances to invest capital in your firm
You will need to have your finances ready to buy in when the time comes, so arrange this now. Most mid- to large-sized firms will have arrangements with a bank to provide their new partners with a loan to cover the capital they will need to invest in the firm.
5. Sort out your personal financial affairs
A lot of things change when you make partner – you will have to resign and become self-employed being among the biggest. This means you will lose all your employment rights/benefits so you will need to do the following:
- Find out what benefits your firm provides for its partners and the cost to you of this.
- Potentially start a personal pension.
- Sort out your life insurance and alternative suppliers for the employee benefits the firm previously provided you with.
- Find out how and when you will be able to access drawings. You may need to organise a short-term loan to cover the gap between when your monthly salary stops and when you can access your drawings.
- Find out what support your firm offers to help you with your tax affairs, now that – if you are in the UK – you will be on self-assessment rather than PAYE for your tax.
6. Create your PR and communication plan
Making partner is a massive achievement, which becomes a great “good news” story and marketing opportunity. In fact, you probably have a window of up to 9 months to exploit numerous PR opportunities in the local, national and trade press, just because you are ‘hot property’ as a new partner.
Before you start to construct your own plan, talk with your marketing and PR team to see what they have already planned for you. After all, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They can also advise you if the news of you being admitted to the partnership is embargoed.
As a minimum, your PR and communication plan should include:
- How and when you will break the news on social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember, you may not be able to change your job status on LinkedIn until the day after you are formally admitted to the partnership.
- How you will contact personally, by phone or in person, all of your A-listers, especially your clients and professional intermediaries, to tell them your good news.
Becoming partner is often a once in a lifetime occurrence, therefore, it makes sense to do more than just the suggested minimum. Which trade publications would you like to appear in? How about thinking about some articles that you could pitch to them?
You were unsuccessful (this time!)
Being told that you’re not going to make partner after all you’ve been through, is a tough day. You will probably feel incredibly defeated and like you won’t ever get up again after such a mighty blow. While feeling this way is completely justified, try not to let it drown you. Now is not the time to throw in the towel, now is the time to build your resilience with these 5 steps.
1. Examine your feelings on getting turned down
However expected or unexpected this no was for you, you are probably feeling a bit raw right now. That’s completely normal, so take the time to wallow.
What many candidates sometimes feel, however, is ambivalent or secretly relieved. Do you feel this way rather than devastated? If you do, reflect on this and use it to help you decide what the next step is for your career. You might just find that you actually want to do something else.
2. Get formal and informal feedback from your Mentor and Sponsoring Partner
It can be tempting to want to immediately move into action mode and plan your next assault on partnership, but try pressing ‘Pause.’ After all, your emotions are likely to be all over the place and the last thing you want to do is to make an irreversible decision.
Use this time to think and to gather feedback from your peers. This may give you the insight you need to plan a successful approach to partnership this time, rather than just doing the exact same thing and being unsuccessful again. People like your Mentor and your Sponsoring Partner will have valuable feedback about what exactly prevented you from making Partner this time.
3. Book some time with your Mentor
As well as leaning on your Support Team, book some time in to talk with your Mentor. Discuss with them what they think you should do next. What option is the best for you? Going for partnership again? Look to make partnership in a different firm? Stay as Director/Senior Manager etc? Go into industry? A complete career change?
4. Keep your head up high and behave with dignity
You probably want to keep the doors open for another attempt next year, so don’t blow it by throwing your toys out of the pram and crying loudly.
One of the best ways to move forward after this setback is to realise that cliché about ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Having knockbacks is all part of the hurly-burly of being in the professions. The more resilient you can get to these slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the more successful you will become.
If it makes you feel any better, it is common for people not to get to partner first time around. Your firm may not be able to make up every strong candidate for partnership this time around. Some firms, particularly the Big 4 firms, even send candidates through the Partnership Admissions Process before they are ready to ‘blood’ them, and make them more resilient and ready for the process the second time around.
5. When you’re ready, take the Partnership Readiness Assessment
When you’ve decided that going for Partner again is right for you AND you’ve taken a break to reflect and your head is in the right place again, only then is it time to revisit the Partnership Readiness Assessment. This free assessment will help you understand where your gaps are (i.e. your weak areas) and what you need to address to strengthen your case for partnership next time around.
The partnership vote isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning
Whether you’re successful or unsuccessful in the partnership vote, the worst thing you can do is do nothing. If you make partner, you need to do your due diligence on yourself and your firm and sort your personal finances before you can kick back and relax. If you’re unsuccessful, use this time to find out why you didn’t make the cut and use it to reignite that fire in your belly for next time.
The partnership vote is NOT the end, it’s just the beginning – especially, if you’ve just made partner. What does it really mean to make partner? You may be surprised!
Don’t forget to download the full chapter of the 3rd edition of Poised for Partnership. This chapter will help you think, feel and act like a partner to strengthen your Personal Case for Partnership. Download the full chapter for free here.
Discover your Partnership Readiness Score
Are you ready for partnership?
Do you know what your weaknesses are?
Take our free Partnership Readiness Assessment to see how ready you are for partnership! Measure yourself against the 12 key indicators and identify where you need to work on to be a stronger candidate.
- How early should I start preparing for partnership?
- Partnership admissions process: what is involved?
- Seven massive differences between working for Big 4 and Mid-Tier firms
- How much do Big 4 partners earn in the UK? [updated 2020]